Please DONATE to help with maintenance and upkeep of the Wind Repertory Project!

Celtic Set

From Wind Repertory Project
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Henry Cowell

Henry Cowell

General Info

Year: 1938 / 1941
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


1. Reel (Interlochen Camp Reel) - 3:25
2. Caoine - 4:20
3. Hornpipe - 5:25

Movements may be played separately.


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Wood Blocks (2)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Celtic Set explores the traditional music of Ireland, using original melodies rather than pre-existing folk songs. Two dance movements (Reel & Hornpipe) frame a slow lament (Caoine). Henry Cowell and Percy Aldridge Grainger collaborated on the orchestration, exploring the richness of the saxophone and double reeds to great effect, as well as considerable innovation in percussion writing in the first movement.

The collection of movements titled Celtic Set were written on the encouragement of Percy Grainger, while Cowell was imprisoned in San Quentin. Cowell had written a number of short works for the prison band.

- Program Note by World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE)

Celtic Set was written for Percy Grainger while Cowell was incarcerated at San Quentin Prison in California. It was premiered by Grainger at Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, with the Susquehanna University Band, May 6, 1938. It was also arranged for orchestra (1943), piano solo and two pianos, four hands.

The first movement, Reel, begins with a droneline introduction, followed by contrasting original reel melodies; Caoine is a mournful, continually singing Irish lament for the dead; and Hornpipe is a rollicking, swift moving movement with rapidly alternating solo and tutti scoring. The movements may be performance separately.

- Program note from Program Notes for Band



(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

  • Tennessee: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer